‘The Crown’ Paid Claire Foy Less Than Matt Smith, But Future Queens Will Get Most Album

What should dictate pay: Previous work or the current workload?

Producers of Netflix’s fantastic, and fantastically expensive, drama series “The Crown” admitted they paid their Queen Elizabeth II less than their Prince Philip for the first two seasons. Now that Claire Foy and Matt Smith are no longer playing the roles, the truth has come out that Foy — who won a Golden Globe, two SAG Awards, and was nominated for an Emmy — was paid less than Smith.

That will end with the new cast in the new seasons … not that that helps Claire Foy.

“Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” Left Bank creative director and exec producer Suzanne Mackie said at the INTV Conference (via THR).

The reason Matt Smith got more money is that he was more famous going in, from playing the Doctor on “Doctor Who.” That’s true; he was more famous. It’s not like Claire Foy had no experience — she was also nominated for several awards for “Wolf Hall” — but she wasn’t as high profile as Matt Smith.

So that’s where the debate comes into play, at least for the first season. But how do you continue to justify it for a second season? Matt Smith had more to do as Philip in Season 2, but still not as much as Elizabeth. “The Crown” is about the monarch wearing the crown, and that’s Foy. She was the show, and became a star after her work in Season 1. You could certainly argue that with top billing she should’ve gotten top pay for both seasons, but at least for Season 2, after she proved her worth.

At any rate, this is good news for Olivia Colman, who is taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth in Season 3, and for whoever might follow her in the part. That’s probably bad news for Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, since more people have heard of HBC and she could’ve used the Matt Smith argument of having more fame going in. But really, we’re on the side of Top Role = Top Pay. So good for Olivia Colman.

No clue who will be playing the older Prince Philip, since Paul Bettany dropped out. Maybe they’re struggling to find a prince willing to make less than his queen? That would be very Philip.

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